This post was originally published on Anktangle as part of the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting. I'm needing to write a follow-up, so wanted to publish this here:
It wasn't until our recent move that I finally got a good, steady routine going with Sasha. We now brush teeth and hair as well as go potty before bed. The potty part was the hardest for me to remember! I just GO when I have to go.
I had night weaned her only recently, so she was no longer waking to nurse. She would wake to pee, though, or even wet the bed if I didn't make sure she went before going to sleep.
Not long after the move, I started limiting bed time nursing to only 10 minutes. This occasionally made for battles, too, as she is learning to fall asleep without a nipple in her mouth.
And that is the short story background to get to this: sometimes we have tooth-brushing battles. She loves to "brush" her own teeth, but would fight letting me brush them. I am sad to say that I have argued and yelled at her. The only thing that seemed to work was threatening to not let her nurse before bed. I even tucked her into bed a few times before getting her to let me brush her teeth! I felt awful about it, though. That is not the parent I want to be.
While chatting with some other Natural Parents Network volunteers online, one of these friends suggested a bedtime routine list. I took her brilliant idea and ran with it! I wanted to make the routine fun.
I started out by printing some images, but I'll get back to those. The fun crafty part started by making 3 checkmarks using 4 x 6 notecards. I colored them each a different color and set them aside.
I made a square template using notecards and traced them to make "blanks" on trimmed-down posterboard. I used regular white glue spread thin on the backs of my images to glue them next to the blanks.
Note that I looked for images to specifically assist in our struggles. The hair and teeth pictures are of a woman brushing the child's hair and teeth. I think it might be fun to use actual photographs from your own bedtime routine.
I stuck self-adhesive Velcro® to the back of each checkmark. If I were to improve on this project, I would have taken the Velcro® size into account and made the checkmarks fit better.
I lined up the checkmarks where I wanted them and set the other side of the adhesive Velcro® in place with them. Then I mounted (taped) the checklist on the bathroom door at Sasha's level.
I also mounted a pocket for the checkmarks. I used notecards again, but made the top piece slightly larger than the back piece to allow extra room for my checkmarks. This pocket is mounted out of reach.
That first night, she was so excited! Sasha was more than happy to do her bedtime routine and check each item off the list. I let her choose what order in which to do these things.
The next morning, she wanted to do the checklist again! That was great, as these same steps were great for a morning routine for us. (Our list only has brush teeth, brush hair, and go potty.) Later in the day she wanted to do the checklist every time she went potty! She at least wanted to place that checkmark every time.
The second day she was back to battling our bedtime routine. I am hopeful that the list will still be fun, but I think timing bedtime better might also help in our case.
How do you manage the bedtime routine in your house?